he’s a charmer
• • •
india’s iconic folk art of snake charming is a dying tradition. in recent years, the country is becoming stricter about protecting the animals (rightfully so!) and it’s becoming harder for the charmers to make a living. however, the trade is passed down through the generations (there is even a snake charming caste) and they are allowing some legitimate charmers to keep tamed snakes that have been living in captivity for years. there is a trick though - snakes can’t actually hear! while the tune playing on the pungi (or gourd flute) is bewitching for us, it’s actually the shimmering pipe on the end that “charms” the snake as he “dances” to the music. as one of the world’s most venomous reptiles, the king cobra is highly sacred to hindus as lord shiva (the blue-skinned god) is often portrayed with a snake wrapped around his neck. there is even a religious festival each year honoring the king cobra! while not advocating inhumane treatment, it is a piece of indian history and we enjoy learning more about all parts of cultures up close!